1 per cent charged to execute deals

Hyderabad: At least five major companies, four of which are in the infrastructure sector, are on the radar of the income-tax department after officials stumbled upon some real-time information about their shady transactions which enabled many politicos to spend hundreds of crores during the elections in Telangana and AP.

“Under the garb of making payments for undertaking different works, these subcontractors were found to be withdrawing the cash from the banks and passing it on to representatives of the political parties assigned to them. This is how some top businessmen funded political parties and the amounts runs into hundreds of crores,” the sources said.

The murky affair came out after a few subcontractors, who were being pursued by the I-T department, narrated the goings-on during election time. The intermediate companies and subcontractors charged one per cent of the total amount to execute the deals.

In a few instances, instead of making the payments directly to the political representatives, the group of subcontractors was returning the money to the main company, turning white money into black, which then was passed on to the political parties.

Sources said it was only a matter of time before the I-T department starts hitting the main and intermediate companies. “Some of the intermediate companies and subcontractors have already been covered by the department. Many of them have confessed to being part of such an arrangement (with the major companies),” they said, adding that these companies could be fined or prosecuted. It is learnt that the I-T department will make them pay huge taxes in the days to come.

Sources said the shady arrangement by top infra companies with the intermediate companies and subcontractors was in addition to the electoral bonds, which enables citizens or corporate groups to fund political parties by purchasing bonds from banks. The scheme was introduced in January last year.

These bonds are anonymous but many fear being exposed and look at other ways to fund parties. “The money from the electoral bonds has been drawn by various political parties this election season. Many people prefer other arrangements to fund political parties than electoral bonds,” sources said.

While their continuous interface with bank authorities ensured that information about suspicious transactions kept flowing in, what blew the lid off the dirty nexus between these top companies, intermediate companies and subcontractors, was the confessions of some of the intermediate companies and subcontractors who were being pursued by tax officials.

Sources in the I-T department told Deccan Chronicle that over the last three months, the tax officials were keeping a close watch on the bank transactions of a few infra companies. Through different bank accounts, these companies were found to be transferring huge monies into the bank accounts of certain intermediate companies, who in turn were transferring smaller amounts to a group of subcontractors and a few individuals.

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